Tzu Chi Teams up With the American Red Cross & Local Government as Dayton Community Bands Together for Tornado Survivors

Midwest  |  June 13, 2019
Photo by: Hsiu Ting Hsu

Documentation: Kuo-Cheng Lin, Hsiu-Ting Hsu
Translation: Qingjun Wei
Editor: Natasha Palance

A devastating EF3 tornado ripped through Ohio over the course of a few days with winds up to 140 mph late this past May, taking a life and injuring more than 130 people. Over 65,000 households were without electricity as the storm tore roofs off homes and trapped residents inside.

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Tzu Chi volunteers listen to disaster survivor attentively as they prepare to help rebuild his destroyed home. Photo by: Hsiu Ting Hsu

The city of Dayton was hit the hardest with catastrophic damage. Due to the magnitude and expanse of the tornado, countless homes were completely destroyed and remain uninhabitable. It is anticipated to take up to a year for community rebuilding. The Tzu Chi Dayton Office has partnered with The Red Cross and local government to delegate long-term post-disaster recovery plans.

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Roofless houses can be seen throughout the impacted region. Photo by: Hsiu Ting Hsu
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Tzu Chi collaborates with Red Cross and local government for post-disaster recovery plans. Photo by: Melissa Lin

Even Tzu Chi volunteers at the Dayton Office were affected. “After the alarm went off, volunteers who were very close to disaster area hid in basements or bathtubs,” Tzu Chi Dayton volunteer explained.

After a narrow escape from the tornado, Dayton Office volunteers turned their gratitude for survival into strength and compassion for those impacted by this devastation. Volunteers recruited a dozen local residents and community members to the team, and dressed in Tzu Chi uniforms the group headed to the disaster area. There they cared for survivors and helped families begin their journey of rebuilding from the rubble.

Students from Wright State University committed to the noble pursuit of community recovery as well, and joined hands to help rebuild impacted disaster areas. Many survivors were too injured to clean their own homes.

On June 2nd, 19 Tzu Chi volunteers helped survivors clean-up broken branches that had fallen down from trees on properties, repaired community electricity poles, and helped to rebuild damaged homes. With nothing but their bare hands and compassionate hearts, the team collected the waste leftover from the devastation and discarded them by the moundful in trucks.

When the team returned the following day, volunteers came across a 73-year-old resident who had returned to where his beloved home once stood to retrieve his belongings.

 The generosity of our volunteers was greatly appreciated throughout the community.

People told me there were volunteers cleaning on my property. I didn’t know who they were.

Charles - disaster survivor, Dayton resident

Your support is critical in helping families struck by disaster.
Let your gift of compassion make a significant impact in the lives of those who urgently need it.

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